Ireland is a beautiful country with a complicated past. Some of the greatest artistic endeavours and cultural phenomenon are sparked within communities bound by the struggles of adversity. These Irish documentaries prove that. The rich culture of the tiny island has been made famous by poets, sports stars, artists and musicians. Ireland is a nation that thrives as an underdog, but relishes in its unique identity. Patriotism is a funny thing, a deeply felt connection to the soil beneath your feet. Each year thousands of tourists with Irish heritage set off on walking trails to reconnect with their ancestry here. Whether you’re setting off on a walking or cycling trip to Ireland or you just want to learn more about what makes this country so special, take a look at the documentaries we’ve listed below. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
The Rocky Road To Dublin
First released in 1967, The Rocky Road to Dublin is the oldest film on our list. It was compiled by Irish journalist Peter Lennon and directed by a French cinematographer named Raoul Coutard. The film investigated the state of Ireland at the time, painting a picture of a nation suffering from cultural isolation and the barriers of clerical rule. The film was quite controversial when it was released and caused waves throughout Irish Media and politics due to its brave stance against the state. Visit Dublin hiking The Wicklow Way.
Reeling in The Years
Reeling in the years is a compilation of half hour-long documentaries, compiled by RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster. Each instalment of the series is dedicated to one year of cultural news and events in Irish history, presented alongside the music that dominated Irish charts that year. The series is informational, emotional and packed with nostalgia. Its a testament to the diligence of RTE that they managed to keep hold of so much footage and were able to re purpose it for this amazing series.
Atlantic depicts the hardships of three fishing communities; Ireland, Newfoundland and Norway. All three are heavily reliant on fishing the Atlantic Ocean. Legislation, politics and corruption are threatening their way of life and their access fish the waters they have utilised for generations. The situation is compounded further when oil is discovered in various areas beneath the ocean, bringing some of the world largest and most powerful corporations into the equation. Dingle is a perfect example of a fishing town that you can find along the The Dingle Way.
One Million Dubliners
One million Dubliners is an emotional roller coaster. The award winning documentary deals with the pain, emotion, ritual and history of Ireland’s most famous graveyard, Glasnevin Cemetery. The grounds are said to be the resting spot of 1.5 million Dubliners. Residents of note include Eamonn Develera, Michael Collins, Luke Kelly and Constance Markievicz. This moving film somehow manages to stay humorous at some of it’s bleakest moments. A revealing project that will stay with you forever.
Wave Riders tells the story of the explosion of surfing culture off the west coast of Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way is aptly named, and the unforgiving weather conditions create enormous waves that draw surfers from all over the world to its shores. Paying homage to the father of modern surfing, George Freeth, the doc also features well known pro surfer Kelly Slater and is narrated by Ireland’s own Cillian Murphy. Cycle the Wild Atlantic Way and witness these waves for yourself!
The Irish Pub
The last documentary on our listis one of the most important. The Irish pub is an institution and will no doubt be a prominent feature of any walking or cycling holiday here. Directed by Alex Fegan, this revealing documentary will make you laugh with its authenticity and truly unique characters. Pub owners in Ireland are a charismatic bunch, and that shines through in this brilliant film.
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